There has been a major increase in knifing incidents among young people in recent years; instead of primarily being employed to intimidate people involved in fights, the intention is to kill, according to doctors at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera. Dr. Boris Kessel, head of the hospital's trauma unit, and colleagues collected data from eight trauma units around the country between 1997 and 2004 and found that during the last decade a "very worrisome phenomenon" has developed of chest stabbings that require major surgery. Only a month ago he had to deal with two such patients during a single week. One, a 17-year-old boy, was stabbed in the lower back and chest by his employer. He arrived at Hillel Yaffe in serious condition and required surgery to stop bleeding from his liver. The other case was a 30-year-old security guard who was knifed in his lower-left chest during work - so serious a wound that his internal organs stuck out through his ribs. Kessel and colleagues recorded 3,306 stabbing cases during eight years and found that the cases in recent years were much more severe with the attackers intending to maim or kill. In 1997, there were 68 cases in which the victims had one stab wound and 40 in which they had multiple wounds; in 2004, 165 wounds (62 percent) of 268 cases involved multiple wounds. The medical establishment needed to prepare to better cope with such wounds and doctors had to be very alert in giving suitable treatment in view of the potentially rapid deterioration of patients with stab wounds, he said. Society in general had to begin to cope with the "monstrous" proportions of this phenomenon, Kessel concluded.